Great Start Communications Bulletin (August 8)



Great Start Network Site Update
The new Great Start Network (GSN) site is coming together quickly, and all Great Start Collaborative teams will complete their FY17 Section 32p applications on the new site. Everyone who currently has access to the 32p applications and reports (all GSC Directors/Coordinators, Parent Liaisons and added 32p contacts) should have received an email from Holly Wingard on Friday, providing instructions about the first step that must be taken in order to access the site in mid-August. Please read the instructions, and respond to the email that is sent directly to you, which will be generated when you have been added as a user to the site. We ask that you create your login prior to the August 16 meeting, and should you have trouble with this process, a representative from IBS, the contractor building this site, will be at the statewide meeting, to support you. If you have any questions prior to the 16th, please contact Holly Wingard at

Statewide Convening Next Week
We are looking forward to seeing everyone in Lansing next week for the Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition Statewide Convening. Registration confirmations are being sent on Tuesday, August 9. If you do not receive a confirmation and believe that you are registered, please contact Kim Walker at

Webinar Opportunity Regarding Parent Led Strategies
As everyone has now heard, the Section 32p application for FY17 will require that all Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition teams include two parent-led strategies. To support your teams in creating successful strategies, ECIC’s Technical Assistance staff will host a webinar on Thursday, August 25, 2016 from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. that will include a review of the four purposes of the Parent Coalition, offer some tips and suggestions, highlight two Parent Liaisons who will share examples of successful strategies, and provide an opportunity for you to ask questions.


Traverse Bay 5toONE Model Webinar
Join the Traverse Bay Great Start team on September 28 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. as they share their innovative 5toONE model. The 5toONE model is their locally driven approach for addressing persistent challenges facing young children birth to 5 by creating a sustainable 5-county system of resources that both provides support and inspiration to all families and addresses the acute needs of families most in need of help.

5toONE addresses the 5 early childhood system components, builds the 5 strengths identified in the Strengthening Families Framework in all families, and supports the four Office of Great Start outcomes. There are 3 project goals: (1) Reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect; (2) Increase families’ access to quality childcare; and (3) Improve children’s kindergarten readiness. Join this webinar and learn how, by using a design thinking process and extensive parent/family input, Traverse Bay is developing 5toONE neighborhood centers partnering with community entities across their five-county region.


Parents of Children Ages 0-8 
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently released a report highlighting decades of research that has demonstrated how the parent-child dyad and the environment of the family-which includes all primary caregivers-are at the foundation of children’s well- being and healthy development. Parenting Matters identifies parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with positive developmental outcomes in children ages 0-8; universal/preventive and targeted strategies used in a variety of settings that have been effective with parents of young children and that support the identified knowledge, attitudes, and practices; and barriers to and facilitators for parents’ use of practices that lead to healthy child outcomes as well as their participation in effective programs and services. This report makes recommendations directed at an array of stakeholders, for promoting the wide-scale adoption of effective programs and services for parents and on areas that warrant further research to inform policy and practice. It is meant to serve as a roadmap for the future of parenting policy, research, and practice in the United States.


Language Development and Background Noise
On July 21st, National Public Radio (NPR) released an article entitled, Turning Down the Background Noise Could Help Toddlers Learn that provided a review of a recently published finding from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which found preliminary evidence that an environment with disruptive background noise can impact language development in toddlers. Though the study was limited in size, it is exciting to hear that research continues to find what many practitioners already know; that environment is important to a young child’s development.

The researchers who conducted this study suggest that louder background noise for toddlers is similar to “having a conversation with a friend while someone else is standing a foot away talking” and that lower noise can be “more akin to background coffeehouse chatter.” Bringing the unnecessary noise down in a toddler room provides more opportunity for children to attend to the language being used by the adults around them and to practice the sounds themselves.

Emphasizing Relationships in Child Care
Infants with sensitive, responsive caregivers show higher levels of language development and social skills. This brief from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation highlights elements of child care programs that support relationships between staff and children, including considerations for child care administrators hoping to adopt or enhance them. The brief was prepared by members of the Network of Infant/Toddler Researchers and the Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium, including members of Child Trends’ early childhood research team.


Depression in Mothers: More than the Blues
In March, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published the Depression in Mothers: More than the Blues toolkit. This free resource, specifically designed for early childhood professionals who work with pregnant women and new mothers, provides an extensive resource for information, data, and activities/handouts to support professionals in their work. Near the end of the toolkit, it also provides support for the early childhood professional to have an awareness of popular programs for mothers with young children. This includes Early Head Start and Head Start, Home Visiting, and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Increasingly, research and information on the prevalence of maternal depression makes it imperative that all early childhood professionals are well versed in the risk factors, symptoms, and opportunities to support the many women who experience this challenge.


Summer Meals Still Available
The Summer Food Service Program and Meet Up and Eat Up is in high gear! Meet Up and Eat Up is a program to help parents and caregivers identify places where kids 18 and younger can gather for healthy, free summer meals at hundreds of sites across Michigan.

Click here to find the closest meal site to you and to sign up for future news and updates about the Summer Food Service Program.


First 2000 Days Tools Now Available
Due to the success of the 2000 Days Initiative in North Carolina and the numerous requests from across the country to replicate the work, the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) is now offering lifetime licenses to organizations outside of North Carolina. They offer three packages: presentation materials, educational materials and engagement tools and the materials are provided in the original design format so that customizing them for other states and communities is easy. Details about licensing is available here.